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RAGBRAI Training: RAGBRAI XLIX is a wrap, but riding season isn’t

  • 5 August, 2022

Well, RAGBRAI XLIX is done and dusted.  But hopefully you aren’t (unless you did the gravel loop).  I am sure all of you went through some challenges on this year’s ride, it’s inevitable on a ride like this.  However, I hope you felt that the training you did helped you get through some of those tough spots.  I have been following the RAGBRAI Newbies group on Facebook and have to say I am pleased and impressed with the number of new members we have in the Century Club now!  Congratulations to all who conquered the dreaded century day.  It wasn’t so bad, was it?  I was able to meet some of the members of this group in person on Wednesday as I was helping out at the sweetcorn feed in Klemme. Among them, Nina D. who had a setback in the spring and wasn’t sure she would be ready in time. I offered to help her out and was so happy to meet her and see that she was riding strong (and a new member of the Century Club). Getting to meet and help people like Nina is why I keep doing this.

Don’t hang that bike up!
When you get home from RAGBRAI you may feel like hanging up your bike and not wanting to even look at it again for a very long time.  That is entirely normal and to be expected.  Riding 400+ miles in a week is a lot of work. You and your body need a break and a rest. But whatever you do, don’t rest up for the rest of the season.  The cycling season is only partly over. We still have lots of great weather wherever you live (in the Northern Hemisphere at least) for the next couple of months.  You are in the best shape of the season now that you’ve completed RAGBRAI. You may even be in the best shape of your entire life!  Don’t let it go to waste. Use it or lose it. If you stop riding now, a lot of those fitness gains will stop and reverse as well.  I suggest that after an appropriate separation from your bike of 1-2 weeks, that you get back on that steed and get riding again.  I think you’ll find that you feel strong, and your butt may not even hurt anymore!  Maintain that nice fitness you have achieved. You may just go out and ride around home or seek out other organized rides (another Century perhaps??), get out there and keep those legs moving and wheels turning. You can maintain much of the fitness you have by regular cycling.  Ride as far into the fall as you can.  Everything you do this year will help carry over endurance and fitness into next year.

RAGBRAI L is right (not left) around the corner!
That’s not a typo.  RAGBRAI L is Roman for RAGBRAI 50.  Next year is the 50th edition of RAGBRAI.  You don’t want to miss this one, so what better time to start getting in shape than now?

As mentioned above, the training you do this year will help maintain and even build on the fitness you now have. Endurance fitness in particular hangs around a long time and you will find that next year you will be able to jump into longer rides faster than this year thanks to this endurance memory your body has.  In addition, for those of us in northern climes, when winter arrives, you may need to hang up your bike but don’t stop staying in shape. Find other activities to keep you moving (indoor trainer, spin class, skiing, hiking, snow shoeing, fitness classes, etc). Anything you can do over the winter will make it easier to jump start your riding next spring.

So savor those friends and memories you made, think fond thoughts of your accomplishments and thanks for reading this season. Let’s do it all over again next year!

Coach David Ertl

David Ertl is a USA Cycling Level 1 Coach. He coaches the Des Moines Cycle Club Race Team and individual cyclists through the Peaks Coaching Group. He also provides cycling training plans and ebooks at his website: http://www.CyclesportCoaching.com . He can be contacted cyclecoach@hotmail.com.

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